Mid/Side with no decoding



I am Not trying to re-create placement of sounds in the traditional stereo paradigm, but want to create a new type of soundscape using elements of the Mid/Side arrangement.

I’d like to explore M/S wiring using a fixed cardioid in front of two subjects who are close together.  The second microphone is a shotgun mounted on the hand-held video camera.

The signals from both microphones now come in to a Beachtek DXA-HDV mounted under the camcorder.  I can adjust gain on either input, then send the mixed signal to the camcorder.

No editing will be done and therefore no decoding can be done of the M/S channels.  Because the two subjects are close, I don’t need a “stereo” image.  I”m looking for a new type of sound experience.

What could be a fascinating audio experience for the listener of the the raw, unedited video?


First off, Mid-Side is not a function of wiring. It’s a configuration of capsule polar patterns in relation to one another…their placement. When decoded, it’s a mathematical relationship of the summed phase relationships between the resulting signals of the two capsules. It’s only actually M/S when you’re using a figure-8 pattern paired with another microphone (excluding another figure-8), because of the unique nature of the electrical signal that results from the figure-8’s polar pattern.

So, basically, you’re not describing M/S with this particular cardioid/shotgun arrangement at all. With that pairing, you can create a variety of results depending on the distance used between mic placement: from near total loss of intelligibility to perfectly intelligible dialog that has a little more room/reverb in the recording.

Even if you were using a figure-8, placed in proper proximity for M/S to a cardiod/shotgun mic, the simple act of summing them to a single channel through your mixer will cause decoding. It’s just that you would only get one “channel” of the decoded audio…the left or right channel, based on the orientation of your figure-8. Which means you’d only be emphasizing one subject and hindering intelligibility of the other.

Personally, I don’t really see any interesting benefit or results coming from this exercise.


OK, that takes me further down the path of understanding.  Instead of cardioid, I could switch my AKG P420 to a figure-8 pattern, but the two subjects are side by side.  Pointing the figure eight pattern so that one side of the “8” was on the right and the other on the left would position the most dead part of the polar pattern facing the subject, so that wouldn’t help.

Also, I will not be doing any post.  Whatever I get in the camera is the final result.  I need to mix it on the fly.  My goal is to create an intelligible result and also add some type of spacial expansion.  But I don’t want to use any boxes to add any effect.  I want to achieve that naturally or acoustically.  Is there a way to “break” the idea of what M/S was designed to do, and employ the original idea to create something different?

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